russia besieged  

Updated 11/24/2010

2010 WBC Report  

 2011 Status: pending 2011 GM commitment

Rob Beyma, MD

2006-10 Champion

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Event History
2006    Rob Beyma     16
2007    Rob Beyma     18
2008    Rob Beyma     18
2009    Rob Beyma     20
2010    Rob Beyma     24
 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Rob Beyma          MD    10    150
  2.  Art Lupinacci      on    10     69
  3.  Jim Eliason        IA    10     48
  4.  Richard Beyma      MD    10     42
  5.  Jim Miller         VA    07     21
  6.  Charles Catania    MD    10     15
  7.  Craig Champagne    NJ    06     12
  8.  Lembit Tohver      on    08      9
  9.  Jim Tracy          OH    07      6
 10.  Doug Richards      on    06      6
 11.  Steve Miller       NM    10      3
 12.  Charles Drozd      IL    09      3
 13.  Doug James         NC    08      3

2010 Laurelists                                    Repeating Laurelists:

Jim Eliason, IA
2nd

Art Lupinacci, on
3rd

Charles Catania, MD
4th

Richard Beyma, VA
5th

Steve Miller, NM
6th

Marty Musella and Steve Miller try to advance,
with Steve winning the opportunity to fight another day.

Lloyd Richards gets a tough draw in Rob Beyma,
who has yet to lose in this event at WBC.

Still gaining experience ...

Russia Besieged continued its slow increase in popularity, garnering its largest field yet. There was also a good turnout at the Demo and eight new players entered the tournament. The Mulligan Round again proved popular with eight games being played Wednesday evening and six more in Round 1 Thursday morning. The seven-turn scenario ending in May / June 1942 was played with the 2nd edition rules, charts, and OB Cards (July 2009) being used again. Playing time was tracked for the first time with the average game taking about 4.3 hours.

Sides were determined by mutual agreement or by bidding Victory Points with replacement points used as a tiebreaker. The VP bids ranged from 18 to 20 with the average bid being 19.3. The most frequent bid was 19 which was also the default number of VPs required. The number of VPs bid increased with the perception that the Germans have a slight advantage now at 19 VPs. Play balance was very close with the Germans winning 52%. After Round 1, the Germans won five games to the Russians four. In one notable Mulligan Round game, the players each bid 20 VPs for the Germans with the tiebreaker being decided by 1 RP. Two of the Round 1 games were extremely close and had to be adjudicated. Bob Bassin and Dennis Culhane both played well in their Round 1 games. Steve Miller and Bob Bassin enjoyed their game so much that they had a rematch Friday afternoon.

Charles Drozd, Charles Catania, Richard Beyma, Steve Miller, Michael Cardwell, Lloyd Richards, Jim Eliason, Marty Musella, Joe Collinson, Lembit Tohver, Art Lupinacci, and Rob Beyma all advanced to Round 2 Thursday afternoon as two other eligible winners withdrew. Richard Beyma's blitzkrieg overran Joe Collinson's Russians in 1941. Art Lupinacci overwhelmed newcomer Lloyd Richards' Russian defense. Rob Beyma, playing the Russians, stopped Lembit Tohver's offensive. Jim Eliason, playing the Germans with an 18 bid, defeated Michael Cardwell. Michael's Russian play showed significant improvement since 2009 enabling him to reach Round 2 for the first time. Charles Catania overcame a strong German attack from newcomer Steve Miller with the help of Mud / Snow in Nov / Dec 41 and Snow / Lt Mud in Mar / Apr 42.

Two more players dropped out, leaving four semi-finalists for Round 3. Pairs were selected randomly by die roll. In the first semi-final, Art and Rob each bid 19 for the Germans. However, Rob won the tie by bidding some extra RPs for the Russians. Art had lost twice before to Rob in the Final playing the Germans so he wanted to win with the Russians this time. In Art's own words "Rob spent a tense 40 minutes studying my defense and then took it apart like a raccoon looking for left over steak in a plastic garbage bag". The Germans killed 18 units on Turn 1 and trapped six more. German infantry captured Minsk on a 5-1 second Impulse attack (1-1 plus four Stukas). Rob made one significant mistake on Turn 1. He miscounted and allowed Art to get a 2-1 (+1) attack to get three units near Lvov back in supply. Rob added a Field Marshal to make it a 2-1 (E). A '1' roll sealed the fate of the trapped units. Art defended around Veliki-Luki and the Dnepr bend to keep the German armor from moving too deep into the Russian rear on Turn 2. Rob saw an opportunity in the center and made a 7-1 Blitz attack versus a 6-4 army while staging a couple of Stukas to Veliki-Luki. A Field Marshal was added to make it a 7-1 (+2) attack. An 8 or higher roll (a 30% chance) would have enabled a 7-1 attack on Moscow (defended only by the WEC) on the second Impulse. However, the roll was less than an 8 so Rob had to be content to eliminate all of the remaining units around the Dnepr bend. In the south, the Germans captured Kiev and advanced towards Dnepropetrovsk. Art defended forward on Turn 2 trying to deny the Germans an opportunity to capture key WEC cities on Turn 3.

The Germans got Clear weather in Sep / Oct and continued to maul the Russian army. The Germans captured Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk. Art tried to defend the remaining objectives with a seriously weakened Russian army and hoped for Snow in Nov / Dec. There was a 40% chance of Snow in November with the +1 weather DRM. However, the Germans rolled Lt Mud / Snow. The Germans advanced on all fronts and attacked every Russian unit that they could get a 3-1 or better against. At the end of the German turn, Rob had his VP bid in hand and the Russians had no army. Art conceded. The Germans got off to a good start on Turn 1 and it snowballed the rest of the game. In addition, the Germans had favorable weather rolls. Art is already preparing for next year.

In the other semi-final, Jim Eliason and Charles Catania both got to play their preferred sides. Charles got the Germans at 19 VPs. "The Professor" got off to a good start eliminating a lot of Russian units on Turn 1. Jim formed a defensive line in the south behind the Bug river with the help of a couple of survivors from the Kiev MD. Charlie cautiously advanced on Turn 2 and assaulted Kiev during the second Impulse but did not capture the city. More ominously, the Germans did not take Odessa either. The Russians defended the south strongly on their second turn. The Sep / Oct weather rolled resulted in neutral Clear / Lt Mud weather. The Germans captured Smolensk, Kiev, and Odessa on Turn 3 but did not kill enough Russian units. The Russians had a strong army and still controlled Leningrad and Dnepropetrovsk at the end of Turn 3. A Lt Mud / Snow weather roll in Nov / Dec, while "average", wasn't good enough. Charlie conceded on Turn 4. The Russian winter counteroffensive was going to be very strong.

The Final was a re-match of the 2008 championship game. This time Rob took the Germans for 19 VPs, both players getting to play their preferred side. Rob got an Automatic Victory against a couple of units in the Western MD to break through east of Brest. Rob again took Minsk in the second Impulse for the second straight game. However, Jim had a very good Kiev MD defense and a couple of units survived. A flipped Mech corps also survived a failed 7-1 Blitz attack in the north. Rob also used about 45 minutes of his clock time on Turn 1. Jim ran away in the north but defended heavily in the south.

There wasn't much for the German panzers in the north to kill on Turn 2 but Rob noticed that two of his panzers could just barely get across the Luga during second impulse. So, two panzer corps were dispatched to the Leningrad front and the rest to the center (Smolensk and southwest of Smolensk). The Germans cleared Odessa on a 3-1 and moved up for second Impulse attacks on Kiev and the Dnepr. Kiev fell on a 4-1 attack and a 6-1 Blitz attack advanced across the river. The Russians defended Leningrad, Moscow, and the key WEC cities in the south. Interestingly, Jim deployed a very strong Russian defense around Kursk. Besides making Kursk difficult to capture, it took Voronezh out of play.

Rob's good fortune with the weather rolls continued on the Sep / Oct turn with Clear / Clear weather. Time was beginning to become a factor with Rob only having 75 minutes (half of his time) remaining for the last five turns. Rob decided to make a major effort for Kharkov on the second Impulse. The Germans attacked Leningrad at 4-1 and went on defense in the center. After some indecision as to what to do with the panzers in the south, the Germans hit a lone 7-4 near Kursk at 3-1 (+1) and Dnepropetrovsk at 4-1 (E). The attacks at Leningrad and Dnepropetrovsk were successful but did not clear the cities. Thus, the attacking German units were stuck on second Impulse. Six panzer and one infantry corps, supported by three Stukas assaulted Kharkov at 5-1 (-1) surrounded. Rob tossed in his last Field Marshal and Jim tossed in Zhukov. A fortunate (for the Germans) '8' roll resulted in a DE and allowed the Germans to advance into the city. Jim is a resourceful and aggressive Russian player. Even though Rob had calculated that the Russians "could not" get a 1-1 attack versus the panzer stack one hex south of Kharkov, Jim found a way. A unit from Kursk made it down there for a 1-1 surrounded counterattack. The Russians also came out of Kursk and made a 2-1 attack against a hex defended only by a single panzer corps and the SS Polizei unit. The Russians won the big 1-1 with a BR result and also won the 2-1 attack. During second Impulse, the Russians repeated the 1-1 surrounded attack and won it big with a D1 result. After retreating through a friendly occupied hex, all three panzer corps were flipped. The Russians flipped one Mech corps.

At this point, the "weather gods" deserted the Germans. Another way of putting it was the weather rolls evened out. The weather for Nov / Dec was Snow / Snow. Even though the Germans had 21 VPs, the Russian army was strong and had two turns of snow ahead in which to counterattack. The Germans counterattacked near Kharkov to secure their defensive positions and screened the open ground between Bryansk and Kharkov. The Russians placed a WEC in Kursk to replace another Mech corps on that front. The best units in the Russian army descended on Bryansk from three directions like a pack of hungry wolves. The Russians had success on their first Impulse attacks save for a 1-2 (-1) soak-off in the forest. The third Russian Mech corps (that was replaced in Kursk) enabled a 1-1 (E) versus the lone German panzer corps behind Bryansk. Rob was regretting not placing two units here. At this point, the Russian combat dice cooled off with both the 1-1 on the panzer unit and a 1-1 on Bryansk being repulsed.

Rob took advantage of the respite in the Russian advance on the Bryansk front to shore up the defensive positions on that front during Jan / Feb. A flipped Italian infantry was left in front of the main line to absorb the Russian first Impulse attack directly east of Bryansk. The remaining German infantry in the center clung to the hexes just east of Smolensk. A single 4-5 flipped infantry unit garrisoned Smolensk. Rob screened the rear (or so he thought) against a Russian paratroop drop. However, Jim found a hex just behind Smolensk to drop his paratroopers and set up for a major assault in the center on second Impulse. Additional Russian troops were hitting Veliki-Luki at 1-1. During second Impulse, two paratroopers moved forward to attack Smolensk at 1-1. Jim tossed in Zhukov and Rob countered with Mainstein. If the Russians had won the 1-1 at Smolensk, the German units in the front line would have all been halved for the upcoming Russian attacks. However, Rob's luck held and the 1-1 attack was repulsed enabling Rob to resume contemplation of his fifth straight title.

Jim conceded at the end of Turn 5. At this point, Rob still had 21 VPs as well as a -2 weather DRM heading to Mar / Apr. Jim thought that it was quite likely that the Germans would pick up Stalino on Turn 6 or 7. It was a close, hard fought game. The Russian winter offensive was scary. The Russians almost re-captured Bryansk and Smolensk.

Art and Charlie played another game for third place. Charlie once again got the Germans at 20 VPs. The Germans got off to a good start on Turn 1 and closed to within striking range of Leningrad and Kiev on Turn 3. However, a couple of misplaced Stukas and a couple of low rolls in key attacks dashed the German hopes. A Mud / Snow weather roll in Nov / Dec put the freeze on any hopes that Charlie had for third place this year.

Russia Besieged is one of the few hex wargame events to grow at WBC.

Charles Catania and Art Lupinacci tangle as Phil Evans checks out the game.
 GM      Rob Beyma (4th Year)  NA  
    robbeyma@aol.com   NA

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